Creating Vegetarian Safe Ice Cream

Posted on May 16 2012 - 12:01am by Demelza Young

One of the knee-jerk reactions most people have when someone they know reveals their vegetarian status is, “But what do you eat!?”  In American culture, where most meals center around some form of meat as the main course, many people seem to have trouble thinking of alternatives to the usual chicken, beef, and seafood meal.  When a family has their “vegetarian friend” over for dinner, it can be anxiety provoking because the host isn’t entirely sure what is vegetarian-friendly and what isn’t.  Will serving homemade ice cream for dessert be a problem, or is there such a thing as vegetarian ice cream?

Vegetarianism generally isn’t so much about what a person “can’t” eat so much as what he or she chooses not to eat.  Just as some people choose not to eat tofu and some choose not to eat chicken feet, so vegetarians also decide which foods they will abstain from consuming.  Just as some people choose to describe themselves as pescatarian, avoiding all meat and animal flesh aside from fish, some prefer the term “lacto-ovo-vegetarian,” or some version thereof, and do not eat any type of meat, animal flesh, or seafood but instead consume dairy products and eggs.  “Vegan” is a term describing the choices of someone who abstains from eating animal products, including animal-derived ingredients such as gelatin, and may or may not consume such products as honey.  Before creating a meal or dessert for a vegetarian guest, it may be best to ask what sort of vegetarian your friend is.  In most cases, however, homemade ice cream is likely a safe bet. 

If you have looked into the nondairy ice creams available in stores for yourself or for a friend, you know how expensive it is for just a small amount.  Maybe you try to disregard the price, thinking it’s still more convenient than taking the time at home to make vegetarian ice cream, or that you have to bear with the expense because you don’t want to give up your favorite dessert.  In fact, homemade ice cream doesn’t take long at all to whip up, and it is relatively cheap to make.  And yet, despite how simple making this dessert is, many people don’t know how to make ice cream in a blender and instead waste their money on impractical ice cream makers that just take up space on the counter. 

While no one can dispute the supremacy of the results of a Vitamix Mixer , any good blender is capable of making ice cream.  Depending on whether your friend eats eggs or is allergic to cow’s milk, however, you may need to tweak your recipe from so-called vegetarian ice cream to vegan ice cream.  If you’re unsure and don’t have much time to check, you can always make vegetarian ice cream using frozen fruit.  For a simple summer sorbet, simply freeze 2 cups’ worth of cubed watermelon in the freezer and then blend it all up (adding a bit of nondairy milk, such as coconut milk, to help it along if necessary).  One of the best vegetarian ice creams is made by chopping a few very ripe bananas, freezing the pieces, and then blending them with a bit of vanilla and sweetener to create a delicious soft serve.  You can even get creative and add chocolate chips, a bit of mint extract, or a little peanut butter to flavor it—no YoNana maker required!

For something completely different, you may like to try your hand at making soy ice cream.  Non-vegetarians are often surprised at the amazing flexibility of tofu in recipes.  If you have a Kitchenaid Mixer , the ice cream maker attachment is great for making such unique soy ice creams and sorbets.  No matter whether you are vegetarian, vegan, or just a plain omnivore, however, it’s good to know that you can enjoy ice cream without breaking the restrictions of your dietary lifestyle.  I scream, you scream…now, let’s all go enjoy some ice cream!


Demelza Young is a recent graduate of Northern Kentucky University. Her current plans are to attend graduate school and to study clinical psychology in the hopes of one day working with eating disordered patients.

6 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Tamara September 11, 2012 at 10:26 am - Reply

    I will have to try this soy ice cream sounds yummy. Now to remember where I put the ice cream maker.  Thank you for sharing

  2. Sue Invegas September 22, 2012 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    I love using my Vitamix for making a nice cold healthy treat! Great info thanks!

    • Susan Bewley September 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm - Reply

      I have no clue what I would do without my Vitamix!

  3. Malia September 28, 2012 at 3:43 am - Reply

    I love my vitamix!  I'd like to try some soy ice cream!

  4. Melinda Dunne September 28, 2012 at 9:26 am - Reply

    I used to eat Rice Dream all the time and it isn't bad. Making it would probably be better though. 

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